We moved to Asheville, North Carolina four years ago from Columbia, South Carolina. Moving to this area took some adjusting on our parts after living in a capitol city with 24 hour amenities at our fingertips. Columbia is situated right in the middle of South Carolina and is approximately a two hour drive to the mountains or the coast. It has unique characteristics all its own with the state’s largest university at its core and the city rallying around Gamecock football.
Since moving to Asheville, we noticed the absence of the daily hustle and bustle of gridlock morning and evening rush hour traffic. Asheville has it’s busier times, especially Friday afternoons, but not in the same sense as standing traffic for hours at a time every day of the week.
We also saw differences in the restaurant scene with a variety of places focusing on sourcing local ingredients and a farm to table mentality. It is really amazing to see the community working in tandem with restauranteurs to create healthy and sustainable dining experiences. Another plus to dining local is to eat al fresco, which is welcomed and encouraged at the variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and food trucks downtown. People watching is a always an interesting experience in Asheville. Some of my favorite places to enjoy a meal are Carmel’s, Double D’s, Pack’s Tavern, and Wicked Weed. For a unique viewing and social experience, visit Skybar at the top of the Flatiron building. I promise – it has the most amazing views of the mountains when the sun sets. Hands down, it is a very special place to visit in Asheville.
There is an incredible movement to support local businesses. You will notice a strong arts and cultural events presence in Asheville. The River Arts District, also known as RAD, has really grown since we moved to Asheville. On any given day of the week, you can visit the galleries and studios of working artists. It really makes a difference to meet the painters and sculptors behind a name. The pieces you see have true authenticity and you get to experience for yourself the magic behind the craft. Browsing through RAD is one of my favorite activities in Asheville. I love to spend time strolling through the Jonas Gerard gallery and studio and find myself enchanted with his demonstrations. I feel very lucky to live in such a inspirational place surrounded by the majestic Appalachian mountains.
The live music scene is also a strong draw for locals and visitors alike. With venues such as The Grey Eagle and The Orange Peel, you will find a variety of independent musicians and bands from all genres. You can always visit Pritchard Park in the evenings and take part in the drum circle, which is a fun way to get involved with music yourself. Bring an instrument with you to tap along to the beat.
All in all, life is at a slower pace, there is a strong link between growers and restaurants, the arts and cultural scene is vibrant, the community supports and frequents local shops and boutiques, and Ashevillians regularly find ways to enjoy the outdoor activities that the mountains offer. I encourage you to visit downtown to get a true sense of what Asheville is all about. It has come a long way and has revitalized itself into a dynamic, eclectic, and inviting experience.